Nisarga Dhama - Coorg Part 4

From the monastery in Kushalnagar we started off to NisargaDhama. We had lunch at a small hotel in Kushalnagar.

NisargaDhama is 2 kms from Kushalnagar and 30 km from Coorg. It is resort belonging to Jungle lodges. The resort has cauvery water going round it. The resort looked more like Cubbon Park to us. The place was crowded with people everywhere and littered with plastic and leftover food.
Hanging bridge in Nisarga Dhama

There were quite a lot of bamboo trees and benches to sit. There was a deer park, where we took a basket of cucumber and fed the deer. Apart from that there were Elephant rides, which we weren't interested in. Going around the place we saw there was a place where people could get into the waters and have fun. If one wants, they can book a lodge there and stay. We went on a boat ride before we left the place. This place I wouldn’t mind avoiding if needed.

Deer Park

View of the river around the resort

From here we headed to the hotel in Coorg. We started off next day to Bangalore.

Kushalnagar / Bylakuppe - Tibetian Monastery - Coorg Part 3

From Dubare elephant camp we headed towards Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar.

When we reached the monastery it was almost 11 am. The monasteries were beyond out expectations. They were huge, colorful (Blue / red and gold), and aesthetically pleasing.

The main temple houses there gold plated copper statues, One being the Buddha's which is sixty feet high, other two belong to the Guru Padhmasambhava and Buddha Amitayus. The hall where the statues were placed was filled with paintings. We couldn't make out the stories those paintings were trying to say, hence asked a monk what they meant but he said he knew nothing of it and had joined the monastery just one year ago. There were pillows in the hall which could be used for sitting and mediating. I went around admiring the paintings and just sat looking at the huge statues.
Main temple

There golden statues

Paintings in the hall of the main monastery

Pillar in the main hall

Painting in the main hall

We went around the other smaller monasteries around. One of them we the students were reciting their scriptures accompanied by the gongs. One of the smaller monasteries had five gold plated statues, we couldn't figure out what they were. This place is a must visit. There are no places to eat around. It would be better to carry some light eatables.

Sub monastery

Five golden statues in the Sub Monastery

Sub Monastery

Students in the Sub Monastery

Dubare elephant camp - Coorg Part 2

16th May we reached coorg and went around Coorg and Talakaveri, more about it here.

17th May morning we started early for Dubare elephant camp. It is 30 kms from Coorg. We started around 7:30 am in the morning, so that we can be in the elephant camp by 8:30 am. We reached the camp by 8:15 am and rushed for breakfast to the hotel in the camp. Hotel was crowded and fast food like upma / idli was out of stock. So we had to wait for a dosas. There were some thirty odd people waiting ahead of us for the dosas. I was loosing my patience. Finally, we had breakfast and were at the edge of the river by 9:10 am, we saw a herd of elephants retreating. My face immediately dropped that we had missed the elephants. But then saw another herd of elephants coming by. I hurried Raj to take the earliest motor boat. It was 20 Rs per round trip, so we made sure we kept our tickets safe.
Elephants in water

As soon as we reached the spot we were told to go and get tickets for watching the elephants. It was 100 per head to wash the elephants and 100 per head for a ride. We decided to take the tickets for elephant ride later and hurried to wash the elephants. But once at the elephants no one checked for the tickets.

It was so much fun playing with the elephants. The Mahout would make the elephants lie down in water and then start scrubbing them with stone!! The visitors would then join the scrubbing the process. The elephants would just lie and enjoy the attention and the scrubbing.
Washing the Elephants

I removed my shoes and rolled up my jeans and got into the water without any hesitation, started looking for elephants which were less crowded. The mahout was scrubbing the elephants with a stone. But I resorted to just wash them with my hands. The skin felt very rough and thick. Once I felt I had enough of it, I got out of water and put my shoes on. The elephants too started coming out of water, we took few photos with them. Then another of elephants came to have bath. There was a little elephant with them. It went around jumping and spraying water on people. But, I didn't have the energy to go down and remove my shoes and play with the little elephant.
Washing the Elephants

We sat watching the nature. It looked beautiful with all the greenery, water and the reflections.
Nature at Dubare

People started piling for the elephant ride. By the time we decided to go for a ride there were some 70 people in the queue. We ducked the idea of elephant ride and decided to cross the stream on foot instead of a boat. The river and greenery looked beautiful. In secluded areas we could see people playing with water and swimming. We regretted for having not brought another pair of clothes. As we started to cross the river, we realized it was full of loose stones and I did slip and fall. Then it just got harder, so we retreated to take a boat.

Things to remember:
Be there by 8:30 am to beat the crowd.
Take a pair of rubber slippers, a towel and an extra pair of clothes.
Better to be in half pants to enjoy the water and bathing the elephants.
Avoid a rainy day because elephants are not brought out to be washed.

Chikalli Dam

From Dubare elephant camp we headed towards Kushalnagar to see the Tibetan monastery. On the way there is a small board which says “Chikalli Dam 2kms”. Our taxi driver suggested we visit the dam, we were a little skeptical but we decided to take the chance. When we reached the dam we were awestruck at the beauty of the place.

Beautiful Chikalli dam